From the Executive Director
While visiting homes rented by Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, I entered a home where I met a young man in his late twenties, Rajeh Muhammad. Rajeh told me in detail about the problems him and his family were facing in Lebanon and the story of how they escaped violence in Homs, Syria.
To my surprise the young man was shaking. I asked him what was wrong, and why he was shaking. He told me that he was recently diagnosed with a heart condition and unless he received surgery, he would die and only had a few weeks to live.
I looked at Rajeh with disbelief as it all began to process. This hard working man with a heart condition had just arrived home on his bicycle from searching for jobs. Finding a job in Tripoli, Lebanon, especially since the situation in Syria began, has been nearly impossible but Rajeh searched any way to feed his wife and four young children, ages 5, 7, 9 and 11.
I asked Rajeh if there’s any way he can recover without surgery and in order to not worry his wife and children he asked me to step outside to talk. In front of his temporary home, Rajeh showed me papers from his doctor detailing his condition.
So not only did he lose the life he had in Homs, not only was he a refugee in a foreign country, not only was he unemployed, not only was he unable to feed his wife and four children, but he was also waiting for his inevitable death.
He told me something I’ll never forget that day, “Life is a trial, it is a test, it is a destiny. Whatever our lord, Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us, we will accept with patience.”
A little while later I said my goodbyes to Rajeh and his family but his story stuck with me. ZF’s staff conveyed Rajeh’s story to a good Samaritan and we were able to raise funds in Lebanon and the rest in the US in order to pay for Rajeh’s surgery.
Rajeh received open heart surgery and his operation was successful. We recently asked Rajeh how he felt and he said, “Alhumdulillah, I feel great. Allah (swt) has heard my prayers and not let my children be orphans.”